Android 13 may force A/B partitions to update seamlessly

After the official release of the 13 system, Pixel devices are already receiving this system. Furthermore, flagships from other brands are already receiving the developer beta of this system. According to a report by tech blogger, Mishaal Rahman, 13 may require A/B partitions to seamlessly update the system. A/B partition is a mechanism first introduced in 7.0, and the system exists in both A and B partitions. 

When the A partition updates the system, the user can continue to use the B partition. After the update is complete, the user can restart to the A partition, thus saving the time of system update. For this reason, updating with this technology is seamless. In addition, when the system file of the A partition is bad, the user can also switch to the B partition which will work normally. This reduces the probability that the mobile phone cannot be used.

Google is actively promoting A/B partitions

According to reports, Google has been promoting A/B partitions. In fact, at the launch of 11, it wanted to force this technology on the system. However, some OEMs are not very interested in this technology. For instance, Samsung, until this year’s Galaxy S22 series still does not support A/B partitions.

According to Mishaal Rahman, with 13, the traditional OTA update mechanism will depreciate. The company adds new tests to the Vendor Test Suite (VTS), which must support virtual A/B partitions. Also, these tests have been officially released in 13. The Android version was merged before the release, so the promotion determination is much stronger than 11.

Additionally, Google is making further improvements to virtual A/B in 13. For example, XOR compression further reduces snapshot size by 25-40%. Furthermore, switching to dm-user for userspace merges can significantly reduce compression merge times. Google is also experimenting with deploying Linux’s io_uring feature. This according to benchmarks, reduces snapback times by about 40 per cent.

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